Tension is rising and attacks on hydrogen grow
20th Sep 2021
Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed a growing trend of open attacks on the use of hydrogen for heating homes. The near hysteria amongst some is troubling. What is it that these people so fear about hydrogen that they go to extraordinary lengths to rubbish it?
We’ve consistently argued that a mixed bag of technologies will be needed to achieve net zero heating – heat pumps, hydrogen, hybrids, biogas and biofuels and, importantly, a net zero power grid. The Climate Change Committee and Government articulate the same stance too. There’s a debate about the exact proportions of each technology but overall, we agree there will be a range of options.
But this new breed of lobbyist are something else. They are so anti hydrogen that it does pose a risk for us. They are happy to promote myths (some even propagate outright lies) all in the quest to attack hydrogen for heating. Of course this helps give the media headlines and a story involving conflict (which sells papers). That’s why a spurious misreading of a report on safety gets translated into the headline that “hydrogen is four times more dangerous than natural gas” when the truth is, it is actually safer.
So what should be our response?
There’s a school of thought that suggests we simply ignore it in the hope it goes away. My fear is that this is a well-meaning but misjudged response. They won’t go away until the government make an ultimate determination.
Another approach is to provide technically accurate rebuttal to counter any false or exaggerated claims. Again well meaning (and necessary) but in my experience, this sort of response will never capture the same headlines or coverage as the original claim.
There is another option. And it may make people wince but it might be necessary. We need to be a little bit more aggressive in our response. Call out the lies. Bust the myths. Point out any blatant commercial self-interest or hypocrisy shown by the detractors. In short (apologies for the mixed metaphor), get more onto the front foot and less willing to be someone’s punch bag.